Safer lorries on the horizon as London and Brussels back better direct vision in all new HGVs and seek to eliminate built-in ‘blind spots’

Safer lorries on the horizon as London and Brussels back better direct vision  in all new HGVs and seek to eliminate built-in ‘blind spots’ 

Lorry safety is set to improve as London, the European Commission and European Parliament push forward on making trucks with far fewer ‘blind spots’ the norm on European roads.

London Cycling Campaign has lobbied consistently to reduce road danger by eliminating vehicles with very poor direct vision and the EU proposals will tackle this at source by requiring manufacturers design all HGVs to meet standards for far better driver vision.

Speaking to Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the European cities gathered at City Hall the Mayor said:

“I’m delighted that the European Commission is following our lead and proposing to incorporate direct vision into its revised road safety regulations. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to reduce road danger – and would be a major step forward in making all HGVs safer across the UK and Europe, saving hundreds of lives every year.

Roza von Thun und Hohenstein, MEP and lead ‘rapporteur’ for the General Safety Regulations revision,  told the meeting at City Hall that she was proposing earlier implementation of the regulations on direct vision to help save lives.

Transport for London has already announced a Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and, from October 2020, will be restricting vehicles that don’t meet minimum ‘star ratings’ from entering the capital unless they have additional safety features. In TfL’s own contracts, one star lorries will be the minimum as of October 2019. Amsterdam Council, which had a representative at the City Hall meeting says that it too is switching to vehicles with good direct vision to reduce road danger.

Ria Hilhorst, Amsterdam’s cycling policy advisor, said: “London’s HGV Safety Permits scheme is a great opportunity to stress the importance of direct vision for truck safety. The Direct Vision Standard would reduce casualties in cyclists and pedestrians and similar standards will hopefully be included in the EU’s revised General Safety Regulation.”

 The Direct Vision Standard categorises HGVs depending on the level of a driver's direct vision from a cab. Restrictions in an HGV driver’s field of vision, or ‘blind spots’ have been identified as a significant contributory factor in collisions.

 TfL research shows that between 2015 and 2017 HGVs were isproportionately involved in fatal collisions in London, including 63 per cent of those involving cyclists and 25 per cent of those involving pedestrians. This is despite HGVs making up only four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital.

 A European Parliament committee will first vote on the proposed GSR changes on 21st February, ahead of the final European Parliament vote later this year. This will be the first GSR reform since 2009, making it a once-in-a-decade opportunity to get direct vision included.

 A public consultation on TfL’s HGV Permit Scheme is currently underway and closes on Monday 18th February 2019.